Where Things Stand: In Shock Of The Century, Trump Is Using His Off-Brand Twitter Site To Hype QAnon Content

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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump fly a U.S. flag with a symbol from the group QAnon as they gather outside the U.S. Capitol January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress will hold... WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump fly a U.S. flag with a symbol from the group QAnon as they gather outside the U.S. Capitol January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress will hold a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators have said they will reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS

The online QAnon movement and many of its Donald Trump-adjacent conspiracy theorists have found a happy home on Trump’s glitch-ridden, generic Twitter app, TRUTH Social.

According to a new VICE News report out today, there was some initial frustration within the online QAnon shitposting community about the flood of bizarre technical issues that made up the TRUTH Social app’s rollout. Individual users across the board who were hoping to create an account on the platform found themselves, at least initially, funneled into a series of indecipherable waiting lists and faced confusing logistical errors while attempting to download and start posting on the app.

The app’s rollout was mostly spearheaded by none other than Devin Nunes, who served as the public-facing comms guys for several weeks as users and developers alike navigated a not only snaggy debut, but also struggled with finalizing basic user terms, which clogged up the much-hyped launch of what is now Trump’s off-brand Twitter website.

But now that the technical difficulties have been supposedly sorted, VICE reports that QAnon content is not only prolific on the social media site, but is also being amplified by Trump’s account on the platform.

“​​It reminds me of what used to be on Twitter, in terms of tone and topic, prior to the platform banning QAnon content, with numerous accounts spreading QAnon content,” Alex Kaplan, who works as a researcher at Media Matters, told VICE News. “The community has also been excited by Truth Social, seeing it as another place to congregate since mostly being on Telegram and Gab since Twitter’s QAnon crackdown following the January 6 insurrection.”

A few top lines from the VICE report, which you can read in full here:

  • According to Media Matters’ count, the TRUTH Social website has “amplified at least 25 separate QAnon-promoting accounts a total of 43 times.”
  • One of the accounts that Kaplan identified as being tied to QAnon conspiracy theorizing, “@J6Patriot,” posted last week bragging about the boosts they’ve gotten from Trump’s account on their posts, which have promoted “hanging traitors” — presumably those who don’t defend Trump’s Big Lie to the death. The “hanging” language points to another dark layer of the broader drama. There have been multiple reports in recent weeks, that were confirmed by the Jan. 6 committee in its first hearing Thursday, that make this rhetoric more sinister — Trump was at least passively supportive of his adherents’ calls to “hang Mike Pence” during the insurrection.
  • There is an approved account on the TRUTH Social app called “@Q” that has more than 170,000 followers. The account, according to VICE, claims to be “just a fake Q having fun trolling the fake news.” But users have reportedly interpreted its prominence on the Trump app to mean that the person posting this content is the original “Q,” who has become a Messiah, albeit a completely unverified one, in the conspiracy theory-pumping, far-right fringe community.
  • It’s already been reported, but also worth noting: TRUTH Social has outlawed accounts that post about the Jan. 6 committee hearings.

That last point is crucial. While we knew this off-brand Twitter account would eventually become a den of disinfo about Trump-related election lies, the aggressiveness with which moderators are reportedly trying to ban certain types of information (real, fact-checked reporting) juxtaposed with what it is allowing to run rampant, highlights an eerie, but unsurprising reality. Trump’s social app was always meant to become a safe haven for the very conspiracy theories Twitter and others in big tech aimed to crack down on after the violent Jan. 6 insurrection.

We’ll keep an eye on this.

The Best Of TPM Today

Here’s what you should read this evening:

To catch up on our live coverage of today’s second Jan. 6 committee hearing, head here: Jan. 6 Public Hearings: Round Two

And here are a few notable takeaways, from TPM reporters Josh Kovensky and Matt Shuham:

Jan. 6 Committee Says Trump Intentionally Misled Donors

Team Normal: The Vanishing Cadre Of Anti-Coup Trumpers

Bill Barr Can’t Flee The Stench Of What He Did For Trump

Matt Shuham has a good breakdown of what happened this weekend here: 5 Points On The Flock Of White Nationalists Arrested In A U-Haul Saturday

Sign up for TPM’s voting rights newsletter here: The Franchise: Some Good News Out Of… South Dakota?

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Day Before Jan. 6, Pence Lawyer Warned Of Congressional ‘Standoff’ — Summer Concepcion

What We Are Reading

Ron DeSantis “will not tolerate hatred towards LGBTQ” people after fomenting hatred for a year — Alex Bollinger

Jan. 6 committee must address Christian nationalism — Amanda Tyler 

Who Are You Going to Believe, Lin Wood or NASA? — New York Magazine

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